Friday, August 13, 2010

#twittersabbath & #fbsabbath

This is something that I've been stewing on for a while. In my thought world, I'm striving to be more and more "present", with God and with others. I think I'm wired up like Dug from the movie "Up", wanting to say "Squirrel!" to every distraction.

With this in mind, the implications on my life from Twitter and Facebook are that they move me further and further away from being present in the moment. Here are just a few situations I find myself in (maybe you can relate):

1. I will often go into what I'm calling "reporter mode", so that whatever I'm experiencing, I'm thinking about how I will shrink it down to 140 characters of less. Not truly experiencing the moment. (particularly tempting on vacations where I want to impress people by how much fun I'm having)

2. I find myself checking to see if people have responded to my status updates as a means for approval. Not really living where I am.

3. While talking to someone I attempt to split my attention between them and my phone screen. This, of course, makes the person (often my wife) feel less than valued. I think we've all been in on both sides of this equation.

4. I have Tweetdeck installed on my computer with notices that pop up whenever someone posts. This is like crack cocaine for the attentionally distracted person. I usually am not as productive as I can be when this is on.

All that to say that I'm proposing for myself and others to take a Twitter and Facebook Sabbath each week. One day (24 hours) where I fully disconnect with the social networking web world and strive to be fully present with everyone around me and God. A couple of notes:

1. I'm trying hard to let go the urge to save up posts on my Sabbath day so that I can double up on the next day. Step away from Evernote, citizen!

2. God desires a glad heart toward this, so if I bring a grumbling heart, I might as well not do it.

3. I think that one cool thing that I might want to report on later is how my taking this Sabbath affected my relationships with others and God.

So, I'm giving this a try. On the day that I do this, I'm using the hashtags #twittersabbath and #fbsabbath.

What do you think? Is this worth it? Might you join me? Love to hear your thoughts.


LesC1aypool said...

Dan...GREAT. I completely agree across the board. I feel God wants balance in everyone's life. Our culture wants to destroy that. Evil...wants to destroy that. I think everyone has their own particular Sabbath to work hard towards. Good stuff!

Bruno and Lisa deJesus said...

Dan, I love the idea.. I may incorporate that into my day... I don't have a smart phone, but work all day in front of a computer... I'm with you, brother! Loving our wives and kids, and ppl around us intentionally, and God most importantly

Anonymous said...

Good post! I deactivated my twitter account. Simple living with less is more. Knowing what you are good at and understanding what you want to be involved with and having the time, resources, energy to complete it helps me fulfill my self-actualization. I use facebook to connect with friends / relatives / long distance friends / old friends. I use my blog to update my life who those who really want to keep up on my life. This post is a great reminder to "be in the moment!"

Chris McDaniel said...

I, too, find myself checking to see if anyone comments on my status updates. When they don't, I feel depressed and rejected. When they do, it's like feeding the addiction just enough to keep me hooked. When I recognize that I'm behaving this way, I try to make a conscious effort to step away from the keyboard. I've started trying to only go on FB once or twice a day, rather than several times. So far that seems to work well and I don't feel like I have to check it all the time.

Anonymous said...

It's a great idea! I actually find that the busier I am with work and life in general, the less I pay attention to social media outlets.

Recently while on vacation, I shared a lot of photos via facebook. I did this partially to share with my daughter who was unable to be with us, and partly because it was just gorgeous and worth sharing. However, this does take you out of the moment.

I find that social media can also become a great outlet for becoming a little more antisocial. Plus, the wider the variety of your followers, the more you may self-edit as not to offend someone with your opinions/experiences of faith or world views.

We'll give it a concentrated shot. Shall we all set a common day?!?

Dan Vukmirovich said...

Hey everyone,
Lots of good things said. The thing I want to stress is that I don't think social media is inherently bad or good, it's just how it takes control over your life. Keeping things in proper perspective so that they don't become idols is critical in all aspects of life - food, exercise, money, entertainment, etc. I think if we simply are able to take a break from it, as the Sabbath provides, we can recalibrate any part of our hearts that gets misguided. Thanks guys. Good discussion.

Michelle Wegner said...

As with anything we allow to get out of balance in our lives, Twitter and FB can as well. I appreciate you saying that the medium is neither good nor evil, it's what we do with it that makes it good or evil in our own lives.

I would beg to differ with you on one point though...for me, tweeting a moment very often helps me live in the moment in a fuller way. I have heard people say to me over and over, "live in the moment, put your cell phone away." I find it hard to explain that this tool is actually helping my writer brain put down in words what is spinning around in my head.

I think in writing, the way I want to remember a moment for the actually helps me to stop a second, breathe in the moment, re-hash what just happened, and write it down. I don't look at it as tweeting, I look at it as documenting the moment.

I have always tweeted moments, even before twitter existed, only to myself or in my journal. I figure if people find that annoying, they will un-follow me, but if they find it helpful, inspirational, or whatever, they will stick around.
I have made countless friendships because of Twitter/FB.

That's my two cents. :)

Dan Vukmirovich said...

Hey all, I just processed a little more on what's been said. I get that part about the in the moment journaling side of things, but what I would question is whether or not we are being sensitive to others around us when we feel like we're being in the moment. It's about perceived value, I think. So, as present as I might be, if my actions are perceived in another way, I may need to rethink.

I found this similarly to be the case in my singing. When I try to "look intense", the message that I'm sending is that I'm ticked off. So, not only do we need to be present, I think it's a matter of being sensitive. I find this is particularly the case as the people I interact with are older. The younger the person I'm with, I find that they're able to handle this. Just some thoughts. I think I'm going to do my first one this Friday. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for discussing. Very helpful.

Meagan said...

Such an honest post...and so very true. Isn't it ironic that the tools that are supposed to make us more connected actually disconnect us from the present? I've started scaling back my social media time though I haven't taken an intentional sabbath yet. It's a good idea....

jen said...

Dan - I have taken breaks from both in the past. I have not tried to do it on a regular basis.

I also know that Jon and I both have asked the other to put away the phone at times. We're guilty.

I have also made some great friends via twitter over the last year and a half. It's allowed me to find people I would not have otherwise, both near and far geographically.

The break is a good idea. Will I be doing so regularly? Probably not right now. But when I find myself way out of line with what's most important to me, then I will for sure.

ann said...

i found myself not being "in the moment" as well, or as often as i would like. i found time to spend thinking up great posts or checking out statuses and pictures of others, rather than using that time to invest in people in front of me. so, for lent, i gave up my facebook, and the first few days were a lil nerve-wracking. at the end of those 40 days, however i had no desire to go back. do i feel a little disconnected from the fb hype? of course. do i have a few more valuable moments a day with a precious 8 year old? absolutely. is facebook bad? nope. was it becoming a tool of disconnection towards other things? for me, yes. bravo on the facebook/tweet sabbath.